The Kinder, Gentler Option Of Collaborative Divorce In Ohio

Since the late 1990s, many divorce attorneys in Ohio have been offering their clients the option of collaborative divorce as an alternative to the traditionally adversarial divorce process. In collaboration, instead of trying to negotiate a marital settlement agreement through their lawyers or fighting it out in state court before a judge, a divorcing couple sits down at the negotiation table with their respective legal counsel and other neutral professionals to create the agreement that will govern their divorce.

Collaborative Participation Agreement

Before the collaborative meetings begin, the spouses sign a participation agreement setting out some important conditions to the collaborative process such as:

  • All financial and other important information will be honestly, willingly and openly shared.
  • The spouses will exhibit dignity and respect toward each other.
  • The content of the collaborative negotiation will be kept confidential.
  • If the parties can't negotiate a settlement agreement collaboratively, they will end the process and start over in a more traditional procedure with different attorneys.

Advantages

According to the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the advantages of the collaborative process over traditional divorce can include:

  • The divorcing spouses take control over the settlement process and lead where it goes.
  • The terms of a collaboratively crafted settlement agreement tend to be more thorough and more uniquely tailored to the particular family's needs than a court-crafted divorce would likely be.
  • The divorcing spouses feel supported by the others on the collaborative team and even potentially by each other, despite the circumstances.
  • By sharing the cost of experts, it is likely you will save money.
  • The process is likely to be less stressful and more positive.
  • The future after divorce is likely to be more harmonious for the entire family.

Collaboration isn't right for every couple though. For example, sometimes, serious problems like a history of physical, verbal or emotional abuse, or substance addiction can make negotiation through attorneys a better idea, or the two people involved just may not have it in them under the circumstances to attempt civility. Since the process depends on a commitment to honesty and openness, if one spouse has shown him or herself to be dishonest or secretive such a person may not be trustworthy in collaboration.

Ohio divorce lawyers who represent clients in collaboration have been specially trained to facilitate and enhance collaborative negotiations. Any Ohioan facing divorce should explore with such an attorney whether the traditional or collaborative divorce will be more advantageous.